Maricopa County Parks & Rec asking for fee increase

Posted: Updated:
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- After four years of no hikes, Maricopa County is looking at raising the fees at its regional parks.

The Parks and Recreation Commission will have to approve the increase. If that happens, the county supervisors will be asked to adopt the new fee structure in January. The increase would take effect in April.

The department held an open meeting Tuesday morning to get the public's input.

There are 11 park areas surrounding the Phoenix metro area.

  • Lake Pleasant Regional Park
  • Desert Outdoor Center at Lake Pleasant
  • Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area
  • Cave Creek Regional Park
  • McDowell Mountain Regional Park
  • Usery Mountain Regional Park
  • San Tan Mountain Regional Park
  • Estrella Mountain Regional Park
  • Buckeye Hills Regional Park
  • White Tank Mountain Regional Park
  • Adobe Dam Regional Park

In addition to the increased fees for school bus entries (from $10 to $15), commercial bus entries (from $45 to $55) and a host of other fees, four new fees are on the table -- entry for commercial passenger vans (10 to 29 passengers), annual passes for non-motorized watercraft, an hourly cost for meeting rooms at the San Tan Mountain Regional Park and a fee for kids' bounce houses in the parks.

Since the last fee increase in December 2009, Parks and Rec has had to content with budget cuts and increased costs.

Maricopa County's Parks and Rec department is unique in that it relies mostly on user fees to operate. The majority of the park department's budget comes from park fees and concessions, which means it's almost self-sufficient. That's not the case in most of the country, according to the National Recreation and Park Association.

Comments regarding the proposed fee schedule may be submitted via email to